Board of Elections Hits Mattiello Consultant — Refers Case to AG for Criminal Investigation UPDATED

Wednesday, September 19, 2018


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Jeff Britt, top RI political consultant

The case regarding a mailer tied to Speaker Nick Mattiello’s re-election campaign in 2016 took a significant twist on Tuesday night as the Rhode Island Board of Elections took two actions against former Mattiello consultant Jeff Britt.

First, the Board voted to dismiss a pending contempt charge against Britt. And then, it referred the overall matter to the Rhode Island Attorney General’s office for criminal investigation.

“I’m disappointed that the board of election has chosen to follow the personal/political agenda of one of its members,” said Nick Hemond, attorney for Britt.

“My client has clearly been treated differently than other similarly situated individuals in this case. I also find the timing of all this curious as this was supposed to be resolved several weeks ago. Clearly, there is an extensive political agenda at work here designed to impact the general election. My client broke no law and quite frankly, I’m embarrassed for the Board,” added Hemond.

The matter stems back to the mailer tied to failed GOP candidate Shawna Lawton -- in support of Mattiello --  in the final weeks of the 2016 election.

Mattiello's campaign denies any ties to the incident and distanced themselves from Britt. 

"Speaker Mattiello was exonerated by the Board of Elections in April because he had no knowledge of the mailer and had nothing to do with it," said Mattiello's campaign spokesperson Patti Doyle.

Latest in 2016 Political Saga

Hemond's reference was to chairman Stephen Erickson of the Board of Elections. He is a former Republican State Representative and was a top aide to Governor Ed DiPrete before being named to the bench.

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Stephen Erickson, Chairman of the Board of Elections

Erickson said the decision was straightforward. In an email to GoLocal, Erickson said, “Basically, the board decided, based on the evidence given to it by the parties, to make a referral to the AG concerning Mr. Britt's involvement in the mailer.”

“Short of a consent order, or a full contested hearing (which we are not equipped to do) it is the end stage of an investigation where we feel there is reason to believe that a violation of the campaign finance laws took place,” Erickson added.

“We have made a number of referrals in the past, some of which have been acted upon by the AG and some of which have not. The board was concerned by what we considered inconsistencies between some evidence and the affidavits that were filed with the board. The decision was unanimous, meaning it was supported by both the Democratic and Republican appointments to the board,” said Erickson.

There is no reported timetable as to the next steps by the Attorney General’s office.

Hemond said the case is meritless and it is de facto impossible for Britt to have violated the law as he never made any kind of donation.

Britt, Block and Erickson

Erickson has previously had ongoing public Facebook and Twitter battles with former gubernatorial candidate Ken Block.

In 2014, Britt managed Block’s campaign for Governor.

In a Tweet on Tuesday night at GoLocalProv, Erickson Tweeted, "I did not know that Mr. Britt managed Ken Block's campaign. Really had no idea. If you asked me who is managing what campaign right now I would flunk the exam. And I have been an unaffiliated voter for years, FYI".

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This article was first published at 9/18/18 8:14 PM


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